Japanese boffins fire up 100Gbps wireless broadband connection

Terahertz radio transmitters lead to possibility of high-speed pipelines

A group of university researchers in Japan say they have achieved wireless data connections of up to 100Gbps with a new transmitter operating at the submillimetre terahertz frequency range.

The team operating out of Hiroshima University, Panasonic Corporation, and the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology in Japan said that the development of a CMOS transmitter operating in the 275-305GHz range has allowed them to establish high-speed connections over multiple channels, and created the headroom needed for speeds that would rival those of fiber cables.

Such frequencies are far higher than the current millimetre-wave frequencies and, at 300GHz, would break the terahertz frequency barrier. This high frequency, the team says, allows for faster transmissions than current 5GHz wireless networks or even the 60GHz range used by high-speed LAN standards such as WiGig.

"Today, we usually talk about wireless data-rates in megabits per second or gigabits per second. But I foresee we'll soon be talking about terabits per second," said Hiroshima University professor Minoru Fujishima.

"That's what THz wireless technology offers. Such extreme speeds are currently confined in optical fibers."

Where and how the terahertz transmissions could be used remains to be seen. In general, higher frequency ranges mean faster speeds but shorter ranges and less ability to penetrate obstacles. WiGig, for example, has seen its use cases limited as its Wi-Fi signals are often unable to transmit through multiple rooms in a house or office.

The next step in the project is to develop the modulation and demodulation circuits for the terahertz transmissions and begin work on further developing the high-frequency data network format.

The technology remains in its early form, with researchers only beginning to construct basic components for data transmissions. The 300GHz range itself also remains exclusively the subject of research projects, and regulators don't plan on discussing any sort of allocation plan for the frequency range until 2019. ®

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